Couturier Gallery is very pleased to present one of Cuba's brilliant contemporary artists, Abel Barroso, in his solo exhibition There's No Place Like Home. Barroso has been challenging and skewering the "virtues" of borders and frontiers, notions of third world versus first world, with his ironic, tongue-in-cheek, poignant and often hilarious cedar wood sculptures and woodblock prints since the early 1990s. This exhibition will present recent sculptures (many which invite active participation), wood veneer works on paper and paintings. The exhibition dates for Abel Barroso: There's No Place Like Home are October 27 – December 1, 2012.
The artist’s opening reception will be Saturday, October 27, 6-8pm.
The playfully serious works of Abel Barroso (Pinar del Río, 1971), focusing on the socio-political frontiers between Cuba and the "rest of the world," germinated in his early university days in the late ‘80s and found a consistent form and voice by the time he graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in 1995. Noted early in his career for his woodblock prints, Barroso upended the tradition of woodblock printmaking in the early ‘90s with the work titled “Arbol xilografico” (1993), a virtuoso piece invoking Dürer, Munch, Chinese and Japanese art, which he exhibited by placing the woodblock on the wall and the print itself on the floor giving prominence to the matrix, not the print. This marked the start of Barroso using his matrices as independent sculptures once the edition was printed. His sculptural works today still take the form of woodblock matrices, carved and inked as a matrix would be, however, with prints rarely, if ever, made from them.
The subject matters Barroso addresses focus on borders (in particular, social borders), poverty, immigration, war, wealth, and the overall effects of technology and globalization. Rather than dwell with anger or cynicism on the disparities, calamities and absurdities that accompany the political and social distinctions between the “third” and “first” worlds and their root causes, he uses satirical and wicked humor, characteristic in contemporary Cuban art, to playfully engage viewers with these sculptures that require interaction and manipulation just as toys do. His “Pinball del Emigrante” (The Emigrant’s Pinball), exhibited as part of his solo exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes de La Habana (May 2012), are full size pinball machines, constructed entirely of wood, where each player tries to emigrate to the first world by winning a visa in one, a first-class plane ticket in another, or to get past the wall separating the third and first worlds in yet another. “Visa Monopoly,” a wood version of the familiar game, requires players to win visas to the countries with strong GDPs.
Included in Barroso’s Los Angeles exhibition will be “Visa para el mundo” Visa for the World) a sculpture of a three dimensional cedar wood house, representing the world, with its door and windows open and its exterior carved in relief with a world map, next to it a wood eye-dropper from which comes out a drop (carved wood) with the word “Visa.” The work represents the world as our home and the eye-dropper and drop the means by which to receive permission to enter the house. Additionally, there will be two-dimensional works constructed of wood veneers collaged on paper, such as “Casa-mochila (House-Backpack)” depicting a backpack in the form of a house, a migrant’s all-in-one microcosm. Barroso is very careful about the finish of all his works, all crafted by hand and assembled without use of nails, screws or glue, bestowing them with a deliberately home-made look. After all, there is no place like home.
Abel Barroso has exhibited throughout the world, in keeping with his global vision, including Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, United States, Japan, China, Spain, France, Italy, Canada, Portugal. His work is included in numerous important public collections including the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, Cuba; Wifredo Lam Center, Havana, Cuba; Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York; Whitney Museum, New York; Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, Tx.; Museum of Fine Arts, Minneapolis, MN; Museum of the University of Arizona, Tempe, AZ; Federal Reserve Collection, Washington, DC; The Banff Center for the Arts, Alberta, Canada.
For additional information/visual materials please contact the gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org